OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Saying goodbye to The Church of Dirt

Oct 10, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2023, 4:28 pm

The church of dirt in park city is set to be taken down due to the misuse of the public property...

The church of dirt in park city is set to be taken down due to the misuse of the public property (Kelsey Lage Photography)

(Kelsey Lage Photography)

PARK CITY, Utah — Utah is full of “hidden gems”, but what happens when those gems get found and then over-used? Apparently, that’s what’s happening to the Church of Dirt, an unofficial wedding venue in Park City.

The Church of Dirt, made famous by social media as an outdoor wedding venue, is closing. Funnily enough, it never really opened.

Trails and Open Space Manager at Park City Municipal, Heinrich Deters, said weddings were never sanctioned for the area; they just allowed them to happen until the area started getting abused.

This summer alone, more than 150 weddings occurred at the Church of Dirt, resulting in litter and road and trail access obstruction.

Even though the Church of Dirt was on public land, Deters said people were not treating it like public land.

“People were roping off the trailheads or, there was actually quite a few, sort of egregious, where people were stopping people in the trails saying, ‘you have to go around, this is a private wedding,'” said Deters.

Outdoor weddings

It makes sense though, right? Utah is a beautiful place. The outdoors is a wonderful place to get married. Social media, oddly enough, is helping people realize the beauty of the outside.

“They see this, and they want to go to these areas. What we have found as land managers is that it’s insatiable,” said Deters about people abusing the public space.

However, when there’s a mad dash to have your wedding there, and when weddinggoers are blocking public access to public land, it’s difficult to please both groups. 

The Church of Dirt closure

After several years of allowing the structure and benches near the Empire Pass trailhead to stand, Park City’s land management has made the decision to dismantle them.

This comes as a culmination of deliberation and consideration, as the city recognizes the necessity of bringing this chapter to a close.

Related: Barn weddings becoming more popular in Utah, farmers say it helps pay the bills

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased ...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Summit County to acquire largest open space in its history for $55 million

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased after grant funding is made available in 2025.

3 hours ago

container garden shown...

Mitchell von Puttkammer

How to plant in a container garden

Maria, Taun, and their guest cover practical tips on how to successfully plant a vibrant container garden. Listen to the KSL Greenhouse show.

13 hours ago

Life jackets are pictured at the Saratoga Springs Marina at Utah Lake on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022....

Curt Gresseth

Come on in, the water’s fine (but remember to wear a life jacket)

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation law enforcement chief shares his knowledge and experience with selecting the right life jacket and using it safely.

18 hours ago

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation warns that drinking while operating a boat is illegal....

Emma Keddington

Expert wants boaters to know the rules about drinking on the water

Utah laws allow passengers to have open containers of alcohol on a boat. However, drinking and driving a boat is illegal.

1 day ago

Image of the camp formerly known as Camp Steiner, in Utah's high Uinta mountains. The camp, almost ...

Britt Johnson

A new name and a new beginning for Camp Steiner

For nearly 100 years, Camp Steiner has been used almost exclusively by scouting organizations. But that's about to change.

1 day ago

A quagga dip tank at Lake Powell, as a boat enters the tank to be decontaminated from quagga mussel...

Mike Anderson, KSLTV.com

DWR discovers more efficient way to decontaminate boats from quagga mussels

The solution the DWR developed is a dip tank that decontaminates the boats and kills quagga mussels. Boaters can run it through the system for only minutes before heading back out.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Saying goodbye to The Church of Dirt